First data connection between sites in Bahrenfeld and Schenefeld
Support infrastructure and fibre-optic lines across European XFEL’s 3.4-km span installed
European XFEL and DESY groups have established the first direct optical fibre communication links between the European XFEL start point on the DESY campus and the facility’s experiment hall in Schenefeld, 3.4 km away.
Following the path of a beamline through the underground tunnels of the electron accelerator, the X-ray light-generating undulators, and photon beam distribution systems, the groups installed all data and control transmission lines required for initial operation between the two sites. In the operation phase, the connection will transfer experiment data from instruments in Schenefeld to data centres at DESY, and control commands between scientists in the control rooms of the instruments and linear accelerator.
When the groups tested the connection for the first time, a dot of red light emanated from one of the cable’s fibres at its Schenefeld end, confirming success. “This is something we’ve been working towards for years, and I’m proud to see it finished”, says scientist Chris Youngman. “Since this is an optical connection, I like to say this is the first ‘laser’ light delivered to the experiments in Schenefeld”, he jokes.
The groups of European XFEL and DESY have been collaborating intensively since last autumn on the realization of the infrastructure systems needed before fibre cables could be laid and tested. Over the next few weeks, the IT groups will hook up network components and additional cables required for the commissioning of beam line components and, starting next year, for the scientific instruments used for the experiments.